The Second Meeting of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum took place in Belgium

The Second meeting of the Steering Committee of the EaP Civil Society Forum took place on May, 4-5, 2011 in Antwerp. It was organised as a matter of urgency and has become a kind of substitute for the Minsk meeting in April, which was disrupted due to refusal to issue Belarusian visas to a number of committee members from Western Europe.

The meeting was attended by 14 out of 17 Committee members, who discussed a number of issues regarding the Forum activities.
Invitation to submit applications for participation in the third Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, taking place on November 28-30 this year in Poznan, will be posted on the official web site in mid May.  According to the rules, those civil society organisations that took part in the two consecutive annual Forums in Brussels (2009) and Berlin (2010) will not be able to participate in this meeting. The closing date for the submission of applications for participation is June, 24, 2011. The final shortlist of organisations, invited to participate, will be approved at the next Steering Committee meeting in July 2011.
Naturally, the Steering Committee meeting in Antwerp paid special attention to the preparation for the upcoming Forum. It is already clear that its programme will be different form the two previous Forums. It is clear that the Forum in Poznan will last for three days and will be divided into formal and practical parts.  The hosts – Polish civil society organisations – will play a special part in the organisation of the Forum, as well as provide it with content. Organisers are attempting to give the programme a more practical focus: therefore the Forum will include not only traditional working groups and elections into the structures of the Forum, but also a fair of organisations, presentations of cross-country regional projects and a series of thematic seminars.
Meetings of two out of four working groups of the Civil Society Forum will take place in the forthcoming weeks. In particular, on May, 27, a meeting of the Working Group 1 “Democracy, Human rights, Good Governance and Stability” will take place in Brussels, the meeting of the Working Group 3 “Environment, climate change and energy security” is scheduled for June, 23 in Kiev.  Group coordinators continue to prepare the above meetings and are accepting applications to participate.
The Steering Committee has intensified their efforts to prepare a new concept for the EaP Civil Society Forum. The concept, suggested by the European Commission at the outset of the Forum activities in 2009 will form the basis for a new concept; however, it will be revised to reflect the current status of and plans for the development of the Forum. In particular, the paper will contain clearly stated aims and objectives of the Forum, its internal structure, services to its members, mechanisms of interaction and decision making processes. The draft version of this new concept is planned to be proposed for public comment in June 2011, with the final version to be adopted at the third Forum meeting in Poznan this autumn.
Special attention should be paid to the preparation for the Eastern partnership Summit, taking place on September 29-30 in Warsaw within the framework of Polish presidency of the EU. At this meeting the EaP Civil Society Forum plans to present its assessment of the past two years of the programme, as well as to hold a parallel civil society conference in association with the Centre for Eastern Studies and Polish Institute of International Affairs.
The next meeting of the EaP Civil Society Forum Steering Committee will take place on July 14-15 in Chisinau.
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